the blotches of the skin are a map of the incorruptible constellations; but thinking makes it so; JLB DJ LW
It is not one thing, but all the things which
legend attributes to Judas Iscariot that are false
Like a certain German before
him, de Quincey speculated that Judas had
delivered up Christ in order to force Him to
declare His divinity and set in motion a vast
uprising against Rome's yoke; Runeberg
suggests a vindication of a metaphysical nature.
Cleverly, he begins by emphasizing how
superfluous Judas' action was. He observes (as
Robertson had) that in order to identify a
teacher who preached every day in the
synagogue and worked miracles in the plain
sight of thousands of people, there was no need
of betrayal by one of the teacher's own apostles.
That is precisely, however, what occurred. To
assume an error in the Scriptures is intolerable,
but it is no less intolerable to assume that a
random act intruded into the most precious
event in the history of the world. Ergo, Judas'
betrayal was not a random act, but
predetermined, with its own mysterious place
in the economy of redemption. Runeberg
continues: The Word, when it was made Flesh,
passed from omnipresence into space, from
eternity into history, from unlimited joy and
happiness into mutability and death; to repay
that sacrifice, it was needful that a man (in
representation of all mankind) make a sacrifice
of equal worth. Judas Iscariot was that man.
Alone among the apostles, Judas sensed Jesus'
secret divinity and His terrible purpose. The
Word had stooped to become mortal; Judas, a
disciple of the Word, would stoop to become an
informer (the most heinous crime that infamy
will bear) and to dwell amid inextinguishable
flames. As below, so above; the forms of earth
correspond to the forms of heaven; the blotches
of the skin are a map of the incorruptible
constellations; Judas is somehow a reflection of
Jesus. From that conclusion derive the thirty
pieces of silver and the kiss; from that
conclusion derives the voluntary death, so as
even more emphatically to merit reprobation.
There are no propositions which, in any absolute sense, are sublime, important, or trivial. Now perhaps some of you will agree to that and be reminded of Hamlet's words: "Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." But this again could lead to a misunderstanding. What Hamlet says seems to imply that good and bad, though not qualities of the world outside us, are attributes to our states of mind. But what I mean is that a state of mind, so far as we mean by that a fact which we can describe, is in no ethical sense good or bad.
If for instance in our world-book we read the description of a murder with all its details physical and psychological, the mere description of these facts will contain nothing which we could call an ethical proposition. The murder will be on exactly the same level as any other event, for instance the falling of a stone. Certainly the reading of this description might cause us pain or rage or any other emotion, or we might read about the pain or rage caused by this murder in other people when they heard of it, but there will simply be facts, facts, and facts but no Ethics.
And now I must say that if I contemplate what Ethics really would have to be if there were such a science, this result seems to me quite obvious. It seems to me obvious that nothing we could ever think or say should be the thing. That we cannot write a scientific book, the subject matter of which could be intrinsically sublime and above all other subject matters.
I can only describe my feeling by the metaphor, that, if a man could write a book on Ethics which really was a book on Ethics, this book would, with an explosion, destroy all the other books in the world. Our words used as we use them in science, are vessels capable only of containing and conveying meaning and sense, natural meaning and sense. Ethics, if it is anything, is supernatural and our words will only express facts; as a teacup will only hold a teacup full of water [even] if I were to pour out a gallon over it.
Borges' The End (Artifices)
Derek Jarman's Wittgenstein
Wittgensteins A Lecture on Ethics